Look out Camry and Accord. Kia is out to get you. Their 2013 Optima SX Limited is offering some tough, compelling competition.
Optima’s one attribute is that it’s one good-looking family sedan. Its chiseled, sculpted, sophisticated styling possesses sexy European flair. It grabbed a lot of eyes during the week I tested it. In fact it’s so handsome, my 82-year old next-door neighbor came over for a rare closer look.
But its exterior styling isn’t the front-drive sedans only attraction, as the interior is equally attractive. Black perforated leather seats in my test car were accented with white stitching. And both are complimented by soft touch materials throughout. All instrumentation and controls are straightforward and easy to use including the GPS and audio that allows voice commands.
The front seats are Euro firm and supportive while the backs are a bit softer. The rears can comfortably seat two adults, or three teens/tweens. There’s ample legroom and ingress/egress is easy thanks to wide opening rear doors. A dual panoramic-type sunroof gives rear passengers a sky view, but only the front portion opens.
My only complaint on the interior is that the door armrests should have more rearward padding for those of us who like to rest are arms there. As is, the faux-wood covered handle hurts the forearm.
Trunk space is generous with a two large roll-a-long luggage capacity, or, two golf bags when stowed diagonally. There’s also a thoughtful First Aid kit Velcro attached to the inner fender wall.
Optima comes in four flavors: LX, EX, SX and top-line SX Limited that was tested. Of course, there’s also the Optima Hybrid LX and EX.
As for the gasoline-only powertrains, the LX and EX come with a 2.4L, 200-hp 4-cylinder while the SX and SXL come standard with a 2.0L, 274-hp turbocharged four cylinder that produces 269 lb/ft of torque. It couples to a 6-speed automatic that has been 0-60 tested at 6.5 seconds, which is about average for a family type, compact sedan. The latter combination gets EPA mileage estimates of 22 city, 34-highway mpg when driven economically. But when the turbo kicks in, acceleration is exceptionally brisk however gas mileage suffers accordingly. But there’s no want for power with two adults aboard.
Since it’s the sporty SX model, the suspension is on the firm side, but not too taut. Sharp turns produce only a tad of lean and if you could close your eyes while driving the SX, you’d think you were in a BMW 3-Series. Kia did a marvelous job of emulating the latter.
Since the standard and optional feature list is so extensive and lengthy, the most important ones are heated/cooled seats (the latter are particularly helpful right now), heated outboard rear seats, rear camera, GPS Nav, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill Assist, LED running lights, heated outside mirrors, and yes, the First Aid kit.
For this and lots more, the Optima priced-out at $35,275 with delivery, after a base of $28,800. Unfortunately, Kia selectively bundles its features so to forego Panoramic Sunroof embedded within the SX Premium Touring Package ($2,950), you’d lose the RV camera, heated/cooled seats and more. There’s also the pricey SX Limited Package ($3,350) that contains such desirables as leather seats and, yes, the First Aid Kit.
Optima received impressive government safety ratings of five overall stars, five for frontal crash (driver & passenger), three for side crash (front seat), five for rear seat, and lastly, five for rollover. All this and a generous 10/100K limited powertrain, 5/60K basic and 5/60K roadside assistance warranties, makes Optima a compelling compact family sedan.
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